Lesson 1131 – Real Soup in a Cup – A thrifty and healthy lunch

Several people pointed me to this news story that has made the rounds recently. Basically, it’s the lament (whining) of a 350 lb. woman on benefits (she lives in the U.K.) She currently receives about $32,000 year (includes public housing) and claims that she remains fat because the government is not giving her enough money to buy healthy food or to join a gym. If she only had more money, she claims, she would be able to lose weight.I’m not even sure where to start with this one.

First, if you look at her cupboard, you’ll soon realize that the woman wouldn’t know healthy food it came up and bit her on her substantial bum. Second, last time I looked, walking was free.

As a mother of 6, I have spent years figuring out how to feed my kids a healthy diet without breaking the bank. I’m all about saving money and I’ve written about it in newspaper and magazine columns and articles. I’ve even taken the SNAP challenge and did quite well on less than $35/week (and I also showed how I could *save* money while on SNAP.

My kids, deprived beings that they are, very rarely get grocery store cookies, cereals, or soda. They just don’t because none of us need that garbage. The other night we had a cake for a birthday celebration. We all enjoyed it because it was special. Cake is celebration food – it’s not something that should be eaten every day.

Some of my readers have asked me to write again about how I plan our weekly menu and then how I shop for it. (I routinely spend about $160 – $180/week to feed our family of 7 adults – that comes to about $26/week. And trust me, when money was *really* tight, I’ve fed everyone for less.)

I have a few other projects to finish up, but in the next few weeks, I will do just that. I’ll share our weekly menu (something I do every Sunday morning) and my shopping list. I’ll make the meals for the week and will show you exactly what we eat.

If one spends $180/week on food that comes to $9360 per year. That’s a far cry less than $32,000 (and remember, I’m feeding 7 adults (our youngest is 15) – the woman in the news article is feeding herself and two children.) With the money I could save on her benefits, I could probably afford to buy a second-hand bike which could provide even more exercise.

Until I do my menu sharing, to start things off, I’ll give you a quick money saving healthy recipe which I plan on using for the entire winter.

Thrifty Recipe: The Day-After Soup
I have long kept a “soup” container in my freezer where I put leftover bits of this and that that I include in the next batch of soup I make. Don’t know why it never occurred to me to do this on a daily basis, but now that the weather is getting colder I’m going to start. Who wouldn’t want a warm bowl of soup with some crackers or buttered toast for lunch?Okay ready for the recipe? Here it is:

Instead of throwing away the tiny bits of leftovers from dinner, gather them and fill a portable soup bowl about halfway.

In this photo, I’ve placed some lettuce, butternut squash, onions, and peppers along with some of the crusty drippings from the pork loin pan of that night’s dinner. I also added a few slices of pepperoni because I thought I’d need flavoring, turns out I didn’t.At lunch or meal time, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and heat in the microwave.

What you get is a chunky tomato-based soup.

IMG_20141006_110935623_HDRWhen we have a roast chicken later in the week, I’ll set aside a few bits of the chicken when I pick the carcass clean. (I figure an ice cube amount for each bowl of soup is good.) One will go in my bowl for soup the next day and the others will go into the freezer for the days that I might need to add to my day-after soup.

If you assume the cost of the food was covered in the cost of the dinner, this meal comes to the price of 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, a slice of toast and a pat of butter – pennies. If you wanted to, you could sprinkle the soup with cheese or add half a sandwich (which is what you’d get if you ordered soup and sandwich in a restaurant.) Even with half a sandwich added, it’s still a low-cost meal.

And it’s yummy and filling.

If I worked at an office, I’d pack this all the time. Just add the water at work, heat and let your office mates drool over your delicious, healthy, and very thrifty lunch.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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1 Comment

Filed under Challenges, Food Savings, Life Lessons, New Hampshire, Personal, Recipes, Simple Thrift Tips, The Family

One response to “Lesson 1131 – Real Soup in a Cup – A thrifty and healthy lunch

  1. cinnamon chaisson

    i live on 11,000.00 a year, this has to pay for rent, utilities, insurance, food, and everything else. this woman is complaining because she ONLY gets 32, 000? i think i will move to Britain. (joking)

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